Formula 1 Racing

Zhou expects Alfa Romeo’s Imola upgrade will be worth “a few tenths” · RaceFans

Guanyu Zhou, Alfa Romeo, Miami International Autodrome, 2023

Alfa Romeo admit they’ve been “struggling” for pace in corners and straights this year but hope to make gains through an upgrade package they have planned for this weekend’s race.

Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu have only managed one points-scoring finish each for the team since the season began. Although Bottas reached Q3 in Miami, he was unable to set a time following Charles Leclerc’s crash, and slipped out of the top 10 in the race.

Zhou failed to make the cut for the final 10 in Miami, which his team believe was a consequence of him running without a tow from another car in qualifying. He expects the upgrade the team is bringing this weekend will be worth several tenths of a second.

“Finally, there’s upgrades coming,” said Zhou. “The new package should be reasonably good, a few tenths, I think. As a team we really need it, especially for the race pace, we struggle a lot.

Alfa Romeo’s head of trackside engineer Xevi Pujolar said they lack the performance to consistently rise to the front of Formula 1’s closely-knit midfield group, and their results are strongly influenced by how well each venue suits them and their rivals.

“It [depends] a bit on the track characteristics,” said Pujolar. “Everything is so tight that you have some teams that struggle more and [then] you are there again in the pack.

“So for us still in terms of performance we are not where we want to be. We are just pushing in all areas because it’s very tight and as soon as you go from track to track there’s always a risk that you can fall back.”

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The C43 doesn’t have a single clear weakness, said Pujolar, “We don’t have any specific corners that we are struggling.

“If you look in Melbourne, Baku, we were struggling on the straight, but we’re struggling in the corners as well. It’s everywhere.

“That’s [why] we’re pushing the envelope in all areas, not only with the car, but also with operations, with the drivers, everything. At the moment everything is very tight.”

Alfa Romeo will bring an upgrade package for this weekend’s race but Pujolar expects many of their rivals will do the same.

“We have got also a package for Imola and hopefully that will also help,” he said. “I’m sure everyone will have a package in Imola.”

“It depends what everyone else is bringing,” he added. “If everyone stays the same. It will help a bit more. For us it’s a significant step but we’ll have…

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